Train derails, closes NE Ore. highway

No one was hurt after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed near the Northeast Oregon city of La Grande closing a highway for several hours on July 10, 2013 (Courtesy: Phill Bullock, La Grande Observer)
No one was hurt after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed near the Northeast Oregon city of La Grande closing a highway for several hours on July 10, 2013 (Courtesy: Phill Bullock, La Grande Observer)

La GRANDE, Ore. (KOIN) — No one was hurt after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed near the Northeast Oregon city of La Grande overnight Tuesday, closing a highway for several hours.

According to Oregon State Police (OSP), at about 1:45 a.m., 27 train cars derailed two miles north of Hot Lake, on a section of the Union Pacific Railroad which runs parallel to Highway 203.

The accident closed an eight-mile section of the highway between La Grande and Union. As of 10:30 a.m., it was still closed. Some nearby area residents were evacuated as a precaution.

According to OSP, two tankers that contain hazardous materials were among the derailed cars. The railroad told the Associated Press that it was a chemical mixture with a primary ingredient of sodium hydroxide, an industrial chemical known as lye. A hazmat team from Hermiston was called to the scene, but determined that there was no significant leak.  A trooper described it to the Associated Press as a drip from a valve.

There were no reported injuries. The cause was not confirmed. Union Pacific told the Associated Press the train had a total of 82 cars and two crew members aboard.

Multiple agencies assisted in the response, including the Oregon Department of Transportation, Union County Sheriff’s Office, the La Grande City Fire Department, Island City Fire Department and the Union Pacific Railroad.

 

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